Former Biden interpreter left behind in Afghanistan: Media

Evacuees wait to board a US plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, on Aug 30, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - An interpreter who helped rescue US President Joe Biden in a 2008 Afghan snowstorm is in hiding after failing to join the Kabul evacuation airlift, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Then senator Biden and two other lawmakers were visiting Afghanistan when a snowstorm forced their helicopter to land in a remote area, the Journal reported on Tuesday (Aug 31).

The interpreter, only named in the newspaper as "Mohammed" to protect his identity, was working regularly for the US Army at the time, taking part in combat missions.

Amid concern that Biden and the two other senior senators, Chuck Hagel and John Kerry, were at risk of attack by the Taliban, Mohammed joined a small military Quick Reaction Force which drove from Bagram airbase into the mountains to rescue them.

Thirteen years later, Mohammed was not able to get his application to emigrate to the Untied States processed in time to be evacuated as the Taliban seized power across the country.

"Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family," he told the Journal on Monday, the day of the final flights of the two-week emergency evacuation. "Don't forget me here."

The newspaper said Mohammed, his wife and four children are now in hiding, concerned about a crackdown by the Taliban now that they have assumed power in Kabul.

On Tuesday, White House press Secretary Jen Psaki said the Untied States wanted to help him.

"Our message to him is thank you for fighting by our side in the last 20 years," she told reporters.

"We will get you out. We will honour your service," she said.

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